Predicting veracity in online hotel reviews using types of reported speech, speaker identity and quotation marks


  • Mark Winston Visonà Georgetown University



deception detection, online discourse, narrative, reported speech, ewom


Many studies of deception detection have supported using direct reported speech as a linguistic indicator of veracity (Vrij 2015). However, indirect reported speech and narrative reports of speech (Leech and Short 1981[2007]; Chafe 1994) have not received such attention in veracity assessment research. The current study investigates whether these types of reported speech (along with speaker identities and the use/non-use of quotation marks) act as indicators of veracity in a corpus of truthful and deceptive negative online hotel reviews developed by Ott, Choi, Cardie and Hancock (2011). Logistic regression modelling found that type of reported speech and speaker identity were significant, with deceptive reviews more often using indirect reported speech and truthful reviews featuring speaker identities other than the reviewer or hotel staff. This article contributes to our understanding of deception detection by considering theoretically meaningful classes of indicators (Burgoon 2018) and connecting previous approaches from multiple fields and perspectives.

Author Biography

Mark Winston Visonà, Georgetown University

Mark Winston Visonà recently obtained a PhD in Linguistics with a concentration in Sociolinguistics from Georgetown University. His dissertation work focuses on using constructed speech and thought to distinguish truthful and deceptive online hotel reviews. His most recent publication on Arabic as a Heritage Language is in the International Journal of Bilingualism (2019).


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How to Cite

Visonà, M. W. . (2021). Predicting veracity in online hotel reviews using types of reported speech, speaker identity and quotation marks. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 28(1), 99–123.